The Mousetrap – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Agatha Christie was the mistress of mystery, and one of her most intriguing tales was “The Mousetrap.” The Hartford Stage is inviting you to register as a guest at Monkswell Manor until Sunday, November 6 for a deadly game of cat and mouse. The play opened on London’s West End in 1952 and has now being playing for seven decades, with a brief hiatus during the pandemic.

Ms. Christie predicted the play would run eight months. It is based on a true story and began life as a radio show, “Three Blind Mice,” and was written for Queen Mary’s birthday. The Guardian has stated “the play and the author are its stars.” The director Jackson Gay stated it is “super fun to direct this thriller on stage, getting scared and surprised together…a communal experience to feel like your life is in danger.”

It is a dark and snowy night in 1947 and the residents of the Monkswell Guest House find themselves trapped by the storm. These strangers, or are they, soon find there may be a murderer in their midst as a woman has been strangled hereby and a Detective Sergeant Trotter (Brendan Dalton) has arrived on skis to warn the guests of imminent danger.

The inn’s owners are novices as neither Mollie (Sam Morales) or her new husband Giles (Tobias Segal) have ever ventured into the bed and breakfast business before. Plunging through their doors are snow beset travelers Christopher Wren (Christopher Geary) a young man who loves exploring and cooking, Mrs. Boyle (Yvette Ganier) who takes criticism to a high art form, Major Metcalf (Greg Stuhr) who observes everything as he solemnly smokes his pipe, Miss Casewell (Ali Skamangas) who loves to act out with dramatic effect, and Mr. Paravicini (Jason O’Connell) who finds their dangerous situation a hoot as he arrives unexpectedly due to a car accident.

What has brought these unique individuals together? Is someone plotting revenge? I am not allowed to tell, as you will be forewarned when you attend. The spooky set by Riw Rakkulchon and the glorious costuming by Fabian Fidel Aguilar are worth the price of admission alone, and the talented cast is superb.

For tickets ($30 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Also Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, November 2 at 2 p.m.. Masks are encouraged but not required.

Come play Sherlock Holmes and delight in the mystery surrounding Monkswell Manor and its intriguing bevy of occupants, one of whom could well be a murderer, and at least one of them is the quite dead victim.